Now that he has been moved to Minnesota as part of the blockbuster four-team trade that sent Clint Capela to the Hawks and Robert Covington to the Rockets, guard Evan Turner is likely to be in the market for a new team. The Timberwolves are expected to give Turner a contract buyout in the coming days if his contract is not used as part of another deal.
Multiple teams are expected to have interest in Turner on the buyout market, according to league sources. Turner did not play much in Atlanta this season after he was acquired in a trade from Portland last summer.
The Hawks took on Turner because of his expiring contract (worth $18.6 million) but preferred to give minutes to younger players on the wing, particularly second-year guard Kevin Huerter along with rookies Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter.
Earlier in the year, Turner indicated he was told by the Hawks he would be inactive for a while, sparking speculation that Turner would be bought out by the Hawks. But Turner’s agent, Kevin Bradbury, said that Turner was not, in fact, seeking a buyout, telling TheBigLead.com, “Evan is committed to Atlanta and helping them achieve their goals as an organization and is grateful to be there.”
Turner averaged 3.3 points in 13.3 minutes over 19 games.
Celtics Headline Turner Possibilities
Should Turner get his buyout from the Timberwolves, his former employer—the Celtics—would be interested in bringing him back, a source told Heavy.com.
Turner had two productive seasons with Boston in 2014-15 and 2015-16, during which he averaged 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He was a valuable asset off the bench, particularly as a secondary ballhandler in relief of and alongside point guard Isaiah Thomas.
It was his performance in Boston that pushed the Trail Blazers to sign Turner to an unwieldy four-year, $70 million contract in the summer of 2016.
The Celtics have been looking to bolster their bench heading into the stretch run of the season. Boston had hoped for more production from rookie wing Romeo Langford, but Langford as struggled with injuries and has averaged only 2.3 points in 14 games. Turner could fill that role, though he struggles as a 3-point shooter, making just 29.4 percent on his career.
One issue the Celtics would have in signing Turner, though: They don’t have a roster spot. That could change ahead of the trade deadline. If not, the Celtics probably would have to give up Brad Wanamaker to accommodate a free-agent signing this month.
Another team expected to have interest in Turner—and that does have a roster spot—would be the Heat. Miami has been active on the trade market seeking an upgrade to its depth. But if no deal can be had, the Heat will turn to the buyout market and a secondary playmaker with playoff experience like Turner would be ideal.